Thursday, December 26, 2013

Using a Skateboard as a Shelf :: Make a Personal Statement in Your Home Decorating

Looking to make a bold decorating statement in your home? Think outside the box and take a look around your garage for treasures!

My hubby was an avid skateboarder back in the day, and when we needed a shelf for a speaker in our living room, he suggested using one of his old skateboards that was just collecting dust in the garage.

The other half of this project, the shelf brackets, were also collecting dust in the garage. I had picked them up at Restoration Hardware on clearance for just $5 each several years ago, with the intention of doing something cool with them... well, they finally found their home! Check it out!

Skateboard Shelf Collage

I think this turned out SO awesome!

Please ignore the fact that the Meowna Lisa is not centered in the photo... I keep forgetting to fix that... :)

Cheers!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Help your kiddo stay safe this Halloween with Stride Ride Racer Light shoes!

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Stride Rite. I received products to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.”

Halloween Collage

Halloween is here! We have been doing some really fun Halloween activities and crafts over the past couple of weeks, and that has included wearing many costumes. My kiddo can't choose just one costume and went through a wardrobe change during her Halloween party over the weekend - she started as a princess and later changed into a "rainbow" (as you can see, rainbows have more freedom to run down slides than princesses in dresses).

Stride Rite Collage 1

People ask what she will be for Halloween, and I tell them, "Indecisive." :) She has asked to be a princess, a pirate, a mermaid, an owl... Today she dressed as a witch, and you should check out her awesome Halloween shoes - they LIGHT UP!!!!

Stride Rite Halloween Collage

So no matter what costume she chooses tomorrow night for trick or treating, she will be wearing those Stride Rite Starpower Racer Lights shoes! The shoes light up with every step she takes, so they make her more visible in the dark. We will also give the kids each a glow stick to wear around their necks so we can see them better, and we will carry flash lights for safety, but I am totally grateful for light up shoes!

My kiddo adores the light up component of the shoes, but she also calls them her "running shoes" (appropriately). She is extremely active, and she always wants her "running shoes" when we are headed out to play so she can run faster. Smart kid!

In my experience, Stride Rite means quality. One of the first pairs of shoes that we bought for her when she started to walk were Stride Rites, and they held up SO much better than the inexpensive shoes we had bought at our local superstore. They held up so well that even though she played hard in them, she outgrew them before they were worn out, so we were able to hand them down to someone else! The inexpensive store shoes wore out before she outgrew them. Stride Rites are awesome quality and are way worth the few extra bucks just because of their longevity!

Stride Rite Collage 2

Stride Rite shoes have a ton of light up and themed shoe options to go with any Halloween costume. Check out their Halloween shop HERE. They are offering themed shoes around some of the season’s hottest costumes like Spider-Man, Captain America, Star Wars, Disney Princess and Minnie Mouse. They carry several brands, including Stride Rite, Sperry Top-Sider, Keds, Saucony and Jessica Simpson.

Racer Lights™ by Stride Rite Starpower (Toddler) :: $52.00

Connect with Stride Rite ::
Shop their Online Marketplace
Like on Facebook
Follow on Twitter

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mario and Luigi Super Mario Brothers Crochet Granny Square Blanket Patterns

Mario & Luigi Granny Square Crochet Design Collage

Thanks to Pinterest, I stumbled upon a really cool Mario Brothers crocheted blanket that uses granny squares to make up the pixels. NERD ALERT! This is absolutely the coolest and most perfect geeky gift for my brothers! I am planning to make one for each of my little brothers (who are really 27 years old, but about 12 at heart) for Christmas. One Mario, one Luigi.

Each blanket requires 252 granny squares - seriously, why am I signing myself up for this? Yes, I am crazy to want to take on this many granny squares at once, and it may take me until Christmas 2014 or 2015 based on the rate that I crochet (and how easily I am distracted from projects with other projects.. oh look, something shiny on Pinterest...) but my brothers will LOVE them, so it's worth it (little buggers BETTER love them...).

I wasn't sure what colors I wanted to do, so I started playing in Excel (I'm a spreadsheet nerd) and came up with several options. Some are more old school colors, while some incorporate newer Mario color schemes into the old school 8-bit character.

I figure I might as well share the color options I came up with in order to hopefully save someone else the time it would take to do it themselves.


If you don't know how to crochet a granny square (it's simple), check out the great tutorial on The Purl Bee.

UPDATE 1/29/2014 ::
I've gotten a few questions about sizing of this blanket... my suggestion is to make a few granny squares of different sizes (2 row, 3 row, 4 row...) and then measure each square and multiply by 14 for the width and 18 for the length to see how large your finished blanket would be.

For a smaller throw, a 2 row granny would probably work fine. But if you want more of a bedspread size, you might need to go with a 4 row granny.

The size of your granny squares will depend on your hook choice and crocheting style (I crochet pretty tight, even when I remind myself to loosen up), so it really is a good idea to make a few samples and measure them to estimate your finished size.

Cheers!


>^..^<

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Recipe :: Healthy Vinaigrette Salad Dressing


Lettuce Green SaladHere's the salad dressing that I've been using on my Arbonne 30 Days to Feeling Fit program.

:: Ingredients ::
Apple cider vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Minced garlic
Mrs. Dash table blend
Stevia, just a dash (totally optional, if you need to sweeten it up a bit)

I mix this in a half-pint sized Mason jar. My ratio is about 1/2 vinegar to 1/2 EVOO - ish. I just throw it together, so it's not an exact science.

I add about 2 teaspoons of minced garlic (again, this is a total estimate - I just scoop a couple globs out of the jar with my finger), a few good shakes of Mrs. Dash, and literally a tiny sprinkle of Stevia, cause that stuff is strong. I sometimes forget the Stevia all together, and I don't really miss it.

The only problem with using the mason jar is that it takes a moment to get the lid off of the jar after shaking it up, so the oil and vinegar start to separate, and the garlic starts to sink before I can get the lid off to pour.

I have 2 suggestions for an upgrade.

I just purchased this one:

...and Anne uses this one:

I just picked mine up at Target the other day, but haven't used it yet. It gets great reviews on Amazon, but I almost wish I had ordered the one Anne has because I love the built in whisk. It doesn't have very good reviews on Amazon, but Anne loves it.

Cheers!

>^..^<

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I'm Shrinking!

No Beer... oh the humanity!
Earlier this year, I decided that it was high time to lose the weight I had gained since getting pregnant.

My kiddo is 2.5, so I can't really call this "baby weight" any longer.

I've tried all kinds of diets. Low carb. Calorie counting. Cabbage soup (yummy for about the first 2 days, then it is torture). Weight Watchers Points program and Core program, at different times.

WW Core worked pretty well in the past, so I gave it a try again. But this time, I just couldn't kick my sweet tooth, and couldn't fight the carb cravings I was having. I never felt "full" or "satisfied" - this led to giving in to those pesky food cravings, which sabotaged my whole plan. No bueno.

In mid May, I went to lunch with my friend Cheri. She was slim, radiant, and energetic. *jealous* I was chubby, washed out, and exhausted.

I already knew her secret. She had told me once before about how she successfully changed her eating habits and got healthy and fit, but at the time, I wasn't ready to hear it. I was blinded by hot wings and bagels and pasta. But this time, I was desperate really ready to listen.

Cheri is an Arbonne consultant. She used their nutrition products to put herself on the path to a more healthy lifestyle.

At first, I was skeptical, but this time, I was desperate to get on that path, so I listened more openly. I decided to give it a shot. 30 Days to Feeling Fit, sign me up.

The program consists of meal replacement protein shakes (plus some other goodies) and a food plan that focuses on fresh, real, whole, lean foods. No fast food, very little processed food (if any), water and herbal teas.

And no beer. *bloodchilling scream*

No, not forever. *sigh of relief* Just for the first 30 days. I thought this part would be agony...

But really, the point is to give your body 30 days of really healthy stuff, to kind of program it to crave the healthy stuff instead of the crap.

30 days. I can do this.

I'll be honest, the first couple of days was a tiny bit difficult, and it took a good week to get the hang of the food program. The hubs helped me by cleaning off an entire shelf of the pantry so that my special healthy food items could have a home, and that helped a ton.

After that initial push and learning curve, it has been so easy. Seriously.

I no longer have cravings for bread, pasta and baked goods. They are in the house, but I just pass them by. I make healthy choices when we go out to eat (our dining-out has decreased dramatically since I started this program), and am always conscious of what I'm putting in my body.

I've been using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone to track my food (and, as a result, calories) so that I know what's working and what's not.

As of today... DAY 30... I've lost 12 pounds. 
*happydance*

12 pounds down!
I just ordered my second 30-day supply of Arbonne goodies, so the plan is to keep on trucking until I lose all of the "baby weight" that my body has been so reluctant to give up. Plus the "happy marriage weight" that I've gained since our wedding.

I have a long road ahead, but because of the results I've seen so far, I'm extremely determined.

I won't lie, this program isn't cheap, but it's so worth it. Especially since our grocery/dining-out bills have shrunk along with my waistline. I think it has about balanced itself out, financially.

But even if it hadn't, this is worth it. This is the first time I've been on a "diet" that has worked and is not discouraging or difficult. It's easy, HEALTHY and effective.

Now I just need to get my lazy butt in gear to exercise. Can you imagine my results if I was doing more than just taking 30 minute walks a few times a week?

Swimsuit season, here I come!


>^..^<

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beer Tasting Notes :: Epic Brewing Brainless on Peaches

I was so excited when my hubby sent me a picture of the souvenirs he acquired for me during his trip to meet his new coworkers at Boulder Beer in Colorado! Here's another one from the bunch:

Epic Brewing Brainless on Peaches Belgian Style Ale
This beer did not dissapoint. Oaky, dry white wine overtone mingled with very light sour peach and Belgian yeast. Smells sweeter than it is. Not overly peachy, just an essence in the finish. Gets sweeter and more tangy the more you drink it.

Color me peachily impressed.


>^..^<

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Beer Tasting Notes :: Dogfish Head 120 Minute Imperial IPA

So does everyone remember the hype about Pliny the Younger? Raise your hand if you stood in line to sample that fabled ale at any point during its ultra-limited release in NorCal. I personally didn't. I wasn't planning to even sample it, but stumbled upon it during Sacramento Beer Week. You can read my tasting notes here

So yes, it was a lovely beer. A very lovely beer. It was a joy to drink it, and I do wish that it wasn't quite so mythical and rare. 

However, I have a beer to share with you that is damn near equal (dare I say BETTER) than Pliny the Younger, and is much more available. Check it out:

Dogfish 120 Minute IPA
Sweet, oh so sweet! Beautiful fruity hops! Comfortable warm alcohol that relaxed my body from the inside out. Very balanced and just beautiful. Very impressive.

The verdict: 120 Minute wins the battle, in my opinion. It's more readily available, though pricey - but well worth the cost for the effort put into it - continuously hopped during a 2 hour boil, then dry hopped daily in the fermenter for an entire month, then aged for another month on whole leaf hops.* Seriously, Dogfish put an amazing beer forth in 120 Minute.

I don't want to discount PTY, but its rarity definitely puts it behind the running for me. PTY is gorgeous and tasty, but my chances of sampling it again? Who knows! And my chances of sampling 120M again? 100%.

Bravo, and thank you, Dogfish Head!


>^..^<

*Source: BeerAdvocate